Days of Change

Watching and Waiting

February 18, 2017
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I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

-Ecclesiastes 9:11

Politico is engaged in Plan B of stopping President Trump, driving a wedge between Trump supporters and Republicans who don’t find Trump very conservative or presidential. They posted a profile Friday of Mark Sanford, a man who left office after being discovered having an affair. Sanford has moved from the South Carolina Governor’s mansion to a seat in Congress, with the possibility of running for Senate. He’s also not a fan of Donald Trump.

Most of the standard Trump criticisms don’t necessarily apply to Sanford. He is neither a “loser” nor “failing.” Sanford never lost an election. He may be sad, but only about the people he’s hurt. Sanford had an affair. Trump had an affair and a child out of wedlock. Sanford dropped out of politics. Trump lost a billion dollars.

The reason Obama had almost unlimited authority in 2009 was because the 50 state strategy had put about 60 Democrats in the Senate and 255 in the House. Obama then proceeded to destroy the reelection chances of every conservative Democrats and erode his party until they lost majorities in both houses and a good number of governorships. Trump has 52 Republicans in the Senate and berates the party when it suits him. The 2018 election season has already begun.

Republicans saw what happened to the Democrats from contested districts who supported an unpopular law (Obamacare) at election time. The Trump agenda is only as viable as Trump’s ability to keep Congress members in office. Cabinet appointments are one thing, but there are about a half dozen Republican Senators who would be better off if Trump had to slink away to obscurity in the next 18 months. Antagonistic press conferences will keep Trump supporters calling and harassing RINOs, but it won’t help the politician whose already on Trump’s enemies list.

Time is not on Trump’s side. Not only has a plan not been started, but impotent bluster just highlights how long the Trump administration has been making the same mistakes and not actually done anything.

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February 13, 2017

When the first Tea Party inklings started just about 8 years ago, the left ignored them, mocked them and quickly tried to copy them. There was the Coffee Party, Occupy and ultimately, Bernie Sanders. They learned that the only way to use the Tea Party method was to recreate the conditions. The first protests just a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration were when I saw this happening. In true liberal fashion, they are organized, but unlike Occupy, they have a manifesto.

What’s ironic about this guide is that it pretty much debunks the idea that the Tea Party was AstroTurf while explaining how to mimic a locally-focused plan of resistance and criticism. Obviously, this plan of action is worthy of mockery and some of the agitators are either professional protesters or paid day players. However, that defense won’t end their agenda.

My concern can be seen as concern-trolling, but there are some differences between now and 2009 that make even a fake protest movement effective enough.

  1. Trump won with 46% of the vote. The White House is set for the next 4 years, but seats in Congress have to deal with a president who broke 50% in about half the states and a president who has shown no interest in helping anyone in a contested district.
  2. Employment is a lagging indicator. The companies who committed to hire thousands of employees are under no legal obligation to do so. Even if they do, those jobs may not be filled for years.
  3. Cheap foreign oil beats expensive domestic coal. Dropping EPA regulations on coal mining and gas exploration will not have much of an impact for years. Saudi Arabia has shut down the fracking industry by overproducing. A free market means that the US can’t simply pay more for domestic energy for a decade until the Middle East learns a lesson.
  4. Trump would rather be adored by a few than favorably tolerated by many. Whenever Trump is confronted with red meat statements that are nearly impossible to implement, he doubles down. The president not only fights Democrats, but he offered little in olive branches to Republicans who weren’t on the Trump Train. They could stay home in 2018.

For the record, I don’t want Hillary Clinton to “win” and the way to do that is solidify a slightly larger Republican base and for Trump to listen to people not named Steve once in a while. Trump is getting big things done, but he’s also focusing on petty issues. He’s on a hot streak, but they’re all hot streaks until they end.

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February 3, 2017
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Donald Trump has been president for two weeks and the push back is yuge.

Federal judges have issued more and more specific and wide-ranging rulings on the travel ban as they were being ignored by the administration. The guy running the justice department today is going to have to get a stay on the restraining order that is already letting the “banned” people with Visas onto planes headed for the US.

This does, however, reduce the necessity for pro-Trump blogs to even bring up the mess in Yemen this week where a plan rejected by Obama was green-lit by Trump, Bannon and whoever else was at the situation room dinner at the time.

And yes, I am blaming this on Trump. Did he really think the minority of people who voted for him was going to turn around the whole country on a ridiculous bit of security theater? If you want to cut out the heart of the left, you take their money. That’s what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin.

The cracks are starting to appear and it took a whole fortnight.

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Go Big or Go Bigger

January 30, 2017
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Meet the new Valerie Jarrett.

One of the people who jumped on the Trump Train early was Steve Bannon. Above almost everything else, Bannon saw that Trump was willing to go against something no other Republican would or could oppose: mass immigration. The big Republican donors like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson are libertarian enough to believe in what we now call “comprehensive immigration reform.”

After just a week, President Trump signed an Executive Order which sought to close the revolving door for Americans who were recently granted immigration status but who traveled “home” and back. It also put in a 2-3 month delay on new Visas until a system was put in place to verify the identity of these immigrants.

You can question the legality or implementation of this EO, but if you’re the acting Attorney General, you’ll get fired for it. As the Republicans (and probably Bannon) learned from the government “shutdown,”either you give in or they do. Valerie Jarrett didn’t let Obama give in.

When Ronald Reagan allowed illegal immigrants to get green cards, it was part of an arrangement with Democrats in Congress to grant amnesty, then step up enforcement to reduce future illegal immigration. Enforcement is hard and Democrats weren’t interested, so they took the amnesty and ran.

Frankly, people didn’t care about illegal immigration. In 1992, Pat Buchanan ran on the Trump platform and lost the nomination to George H.W. Bush. Clinton beat Bush and brought us NAFTA. Creating jobs in Mexico reduced immigration for a while. Bush 43 was not opposed to immigration reform, but the Congress found that voters were.

Then there was 9/11.

When Obama came in, he felt it was his duty to coddle the entire Muslim world and deport Mexicans with jobs, but leave the ones on welfare here. Stories of “refugees” in Europe raping women and young girls while sometimes killing crowds with trucks made America appropriately concerned with America’s policy toward not caring who comes in the US or overstays.

More than anyone else in the White House, I’m sure that Bannon is expressing his grudge against Democrats and Republicans who aren’t pure enough to advise Trump. Immigration is a great issue to use. Even firing federal staff when not enough people have been hired yet is not seen as a bad move when they refuse immigration orders that most of America is happy to see. My concern is that the left has lower depths to go and I’m not sure if Bannon can fight it if he lets Trump piss off too many Republicans.

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The Two-Dollar Hooker

January 28, 2017
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There’s an old joke about a $2 hooker, that’s she’s not much to look at, but she gets the job done.

I didn’t like Trump because I thought he wasn’t very conservative (that’s still in flux, especially on taxes and protectionism) and that he would do poorly in a general election. Trump did do poorly, only getting 46% of voters to pick him. However, it was an ugly result that got the job done.

This post on Ace of Spades lays out the case for indifference and why someone can both not support Trump as a politician but still enjoy liberal defeats at his hands. The left used the Alinsky method of attacking conservatives for hypocrisy for so long that only a completely open hypocrite could win. You can find clips of Trump saying diametrically opposing remarks on virtually any issue. Trump’s answer is similar to Andrew Breitbart’s answer to may arguments: So?

Now that President Trump has had a week to write some executive orders, he’s doing things he promised to do, things that Republicans might not do on their own, and possibly things that will make him an ineffective president in the near future. Trump himself is indifferent to criticism, as long as he has already moved them to the “enemy” column. We’ll see what happens when the Executive Orders run out.

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In Ted Cruz News

January 25, 2017
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So, Politico ran a story about Senator Ted Cruz starting pick up basketball games with fellow Republicans as a way to mend fences after the 2016 campaign. Former Gawker tentacle Deadspin, a sports-related gossip site, sent out a tweet asking for pictures of Cruz playing basketball. One suspects they wanted to either 1) prove he can’t play or 2) find some way to make a picture embarrassing. Cruz himself responded by tweeting a pic of Grayson Allen, who is known on the Internets as a dead ringer for Cruz.

You can see in this post that Deadspin did not respond well, even if Cruz did.

One thing is clear. Even thought Donald Trump is being advised by a man who engineered Gawker’s destruction, those bitter liberals are just as angry at Ted Cruz because they were told he was the big evil before Trump was. While Trump has hit the ground running to some extent, I can’t say that the rise in the stock market isn’t the result of the end of Obama, rather than solely due to Trump. Any Republican would be as hated by the left and liked by people who don’t like Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Personally, I find Cruz’ Twitter game much more clever than Trump’s collection of misspellings and third-grade words like sad, losing, or “very unfair.”

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Pride Goeth Before a Fall

January 23, 2017
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So, the thin veneer of Obama’s bipartisanship was over in less than 100 days in 2009. In fact, it took less than 80 days to organize Tea Party rallies for tax day. Those rallies were mocked as nonsensical and pointless. For his part, Obama’s answer for most criticism was “I won.”The liberal media had already talked about Democrats as a permanent majority part after decimating the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008.

Does this seem familiar?

The conservative media, including Fox News, talk radio, blogs that suck up to Trump and the alternative news blogs that booster Trump, are as powerful as the mainstream media, even if they are not as ubiquitous. So, when Fox downplays the protests Saturday while CNN and MSNBC air them all day, this is not the media vs. Trump. It’s a bunch of channels that collectively have lower ratings than Fox News against the biggest name in cable news. Even so, MSNBC posted their highest ratings in years that day.

Trump world (the administration and his Internet Action Force) have been arguing about crowd estimates and alternative theories of viewership. This is a pretty obvious attempt to prove that the 46% of voters who actually picked Trump on a ballot represent a silent majority. The online Trump contingent has sought to downplay the effectiveness of the rallies and mock the people and their hats. I wonder if they would make fun of a pink tri-corner hat.

My wish is for a semi-permanent Republican majority based on free-market economics and traditional morality. Donald Trump can sign a thousand Executive Orders and the next Democrat can reverse them all. Trump is using the Alinsky playbook, but the liberals live it. They are already using the grass-roots model, funded by Soros and fueled by Trump’s outright lies about stupid things to marginalize him as president.

The only defense is to see that this is happening and Trump supporters are winning to much to see it.

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Mr. 3000

January 21, 2017
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This blog started the day after Election day 2008. The original target end date was in 1539 days when the “next” president was inaugurated. Instead, the Obama Era lasted 3,000 days from Election Night to Inauguration Day 2017.

The best president in the 20th Century was Probably Ronald Reagan (or maybe Calvin Coolidge). Trump has some similarities to Reagan. Both were discounted because of their place in popular culture and both felt government had a much more limited role. However, Reagan had a large amount of political experience, was a booster for the Republican Party and was cordial with his enemies.

The worst president of the 21st century has been Barack Obama. Trump shares some similarities with him. Both are cults of personality. They both have little in the way of political experience or governance. Both took joy in attacking their enemies and letting them know they won.

Obama’s lousy attitude created both a defiant Congress and a grass-roots movement to fight him. Even if George Soros creates an “astroturf” movement, it could have a real effect. 63 million people voted for Donald Trump. 74 million voted for someone else. Trump’s victory was a result of just the right vote distribution and opposition from other directions. Unlike Obama, who never had to work for anything, Trump will have to work his ass off to keep America great.

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January 20, 2017

A couple of bad things happened to me and my family today. I hope it isn’t a sign of things to come.

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January 18, 2017
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In the real world, a state that makes gun ownership legal and fairly easy has less gun crime than a state or city that restricts or bans guns. In liberal world, gun grabbing cities blame the states around them for letting guns in. Countries that ban guns entirely have less gun crime, but the crimes (and suicides) are committed with different weapons and can be more gory and violent.

States with open carry and allowances for guns in bars and even schools don’t see random shootings over petty disagreements. Even hotheads know that if other people around them have guns, firing one off in anger could lead to hot lead between their eyes. Mutually assured destruction is scary because it requires that most of the principles be sane, but it works pretty well.

There are two things about a Trump administration that worry me. One is that Trump and his supporters will continue to seek revenge on their enemies under the belief that they can’t retaliate. The other is that Trump and his supporters will continue to seek revenge on their detractors who are conservatives, Republicans, potential allies or all of the above.

The Trump jobs program currently consists of offering tax breaks to businesses that create US jobs and threatening companies that move jobs. Once in power, Trump will have to deliver on promises or threats and the GOP is already unwilling to impose tariffs. Trump can take his case directly to the people, but only 46% of the ones who voted picked him. If three Republican senators out of the half dozen who have axes to grind decide to take Trump on, the Donald may actually learn the art of the deal.

Then there’s his biggest enemy, the press. The media generally tried to get Hillary Clinton elected. If Russian hacking of e-mail and distribution of fake news did anything, it was to level the playing field. However, Trump won’t have Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore. She isn’t the alternative is Trump screws up. The people who picked Trump because they hated him less that Hillary could sour quickly if he doesn’t deliver on whatever they perceive to be his mandate. Even if the media is “against” Donald Trump, the people who are unwaveringly pro-Trump make up less than 40% of the population.

The potential with a combative Trump administration is a preference cascade. Trump attempts to change the law, the media point out problems, and House and Senate members start to fear voter backlash generated by the media instead of by Trump. Anti-Trump Republicans didn’t do that bad in 2016. If Trump can’t rule them by fear, he may not have a whole lot else. Then the media reports his failures and unwillingness to compromise and suddenly Trump is reduced to a meat puppet controlled by the GOP until the next presidential election. Or the Democrats take the Senate in 2018.

The good news for me is that the Democrats can’t do any damage. I’m just wondering if the Republicans can get anything done.

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